A guide to preparing for a new pet

Getting a new pet is an exciting time, but it’s important as their new owner that you help to settle them into their new environment without any stress.

Whether you rescue a pet or decide to get a puppy or kitten, new pets are full on additions to your home and caring for them can take time and patience, but it can also be very rewarding. It’s important to do your research before taking on a new pet to ensure you can offer the best care and environment.

Before you get your new pet

Becoming a pet owner comes with responsibility and there are many things to consider before getting one:

Can you provide the right environment?

Is your home pet proof? If you live in a small one bedroom flat, it might not be the best idea to get a large dog. Consider your choice of pet and how if will fit into your home. Do you have a garden? Are there plenty of dog walking routes around your home?

Can you afford a pet?

This may seem like an obvious question but it’s important to remember the hidden costs that come with a pet. As well as buying regular food and pet essentials like cat litter or bedding, it’s also important to ensure you are able to afford any vet bills that might arise. We always hope that are pets won’t need medical assistance but if your pet needs emergency treatment, would you be able to afford it?

Do you have time to commit to a pet?

Welcoming a new pet into your home can take a lot of time and commitment. Do you have the time to dedicate to a puppy or kitten? Can you take time off work to settle them in? Many pets will take time to get used to their new environment, as well as training they may need.

Will a new pet get on with any existing pets?

Do you have any other pets? If so, will they accept a new pet into the family? It’s important that not only your new pet settles into the home, but that any existing pets are also happy with the change.

What pet will work with my lifestyle?

Some pets take more commitment than others. Dogs for example need to be walked at least once or twice a day – do you have time to do that? Will a large dog fit into your home? Do you have a garden or outdoor space for a pet to go to the toilet or run around? How will your pet fit into your work life? Are you able to work from home or will you have to leave them for long periods of time in the day?

Tips for when your new pet comes home

Once you have found your pet and are ready to bring them home, we share some tips to help settle them in stress free:

Register with a vet

Registering your new pet with a vet ensures it will receive the best care during their early stages. Regular check-ups help with the rest of your pet’s development, making sure they receive the essential vaccinations. Be sure to get your new pet micro-chipped at the earliest opportunity. This is now mandatory for dogs and could be essential if they ever escape.

Set up a safe area

Create a safe zone for your new pet to retreat to should they get overwhelmed. This could be an area where they can sleep, make sure it is in a warm spot, which is close to food and fresh water. For a new dog, you could use a crate or cage, which he can also sleep in.

Stay calm

Although it’s an exciting time, too much noise can startle your new pet. Be sure to allow your new dog or cat the time to get used to other family members and pets in their own time.

Set up a routine

Get your new pet into a routine straight away to get them used to feeding and exercise routines. This can help to reduce stress for your pet and will help them to fit around and get used to your lifestyle.

Keep cats indoors

Try to keep your cat indoors for the first few weeks to get them used to their new environment. If they go out too soon, they might be confused and not be able to find their way back home if they get lost. They could also get into territorial fights with other cats in the neighbourhood, which could make them anxious.

Burn extra energy

A new dog can get excitable in a new environment and around family members. Take your new dog for long walks to burn off extra energy and ensure they sleep well in their new home.

Introduce to other pets

If you have other pets, it’s important to ensure the introduction of a new pet goes well. To reduce stress to either pet, introduce new and old pets slowly to prevent any aggression.

Don’t leave your pet alone for too long

Separation anxiety in dogs is common. It’s recommended not to leave any pet alone for more than six hours a day. New pets could be feeling more anxious in their new home and need more attention in the first few weeks. Try to leave them alone for as little as possible – if you have to, start with short periods of time before working up to longer spells.

REMEMBER: It’s important to do your research before getting a new pet! Consider adopting a dog or cat from one of the many rescue centres across the UK.